PIC NewspaperSerious, long-form journalism from unparalleled authors, interviewers, and raconteurs, defined by their skill, style, and sophistication.
After conquering the world of online humor, Points in Case has set its sights on the future of media: serious news.
This summer, we’ve gathered a collection of unparalleled authors, bloggers, interviewers, and raconteurs who work at the cutting edge of contemporary media. Our new team of writers is defined by their skill, diligence, style, and sophistication.
Yes, we’ve landed some big names, authors you’re probably already familiar with, like our food columnist Glen Lentil (“A Lovely Summer Bisque with a Passive-Aggressive Side”) and our home improvement specialist Keith Jeep (“How to Turn Your Wrench Into a Car”), but we’re excited to introduce you to new, up-and-coming voices like our advice columnist Martha Michaels (“Why Do the Squirrels Always Run Away When I Come Out to the Garden to Hang Out with Them?”) and our interviewer Jean Collins (“Doris Collins on Her World-Famous Chocolate-Chip Hamburgers”).
Whatever you’re looking to read, Points and Case has it covered.
Be here or be uninformed.
Do It Yourself! with Keith Jeep
Why Your Own Two Hands Work Just as Well as That $100 Bird Feeder
By Keith Jeep
Howdy there Jeepers! Keith here to give you some of my classic Jeep family outdoors and home improvement know-how. For this project, you’re not gonna need any fancy tools like drills, nails, or planks of wood. You just need what you can find outside, or what’s already part of your own body!
For any newer Jeepers, a little bit about me! I was raised in the Colorado Rockies by a combination of humans and wolves. When I was eighteen years old, I won a full scholarship to wrestle at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where I majored in Shop and graduated summa cum laude after completing a thesis on saws. But I never lost my love of the great outdoors. I cried more at the sunrise on the top of Moose Mountain than I did at my own wedding, which is saying something because my suit was soaked. I’ve also rescued more than 10,000 baby birds in my lifetime, which brings us to today’s topic.
Today’s topic: Bird Feeders.
Birds, or as I like to call them, nature’s airplanes, are our friends in the sky (no offense to bats and butterflies— we love you guys too!!). Birds are downright awesome. We know ‘em, we love ‘em, we raise ‘em. We know every single one of them by the sounds of their calls. We make them little coats in the winter so they don’t get too cold. We’re all trying to figure out how to get as many of them as close to us as possible at any given time. But how to keep ‘em coming? What’s the best way to attract those sweet, sweet, little guys (or gals)?
Big Hardware would tell you that you need a bird feeder. That you need to hang a seed prison in your own damn backyard. Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s flat-out WRONG.
I’ve tried lots of bird feeders in my day. Loose apples on strings. Homemade peanut butter smeared on the side of a tree. Some carrots that I chewed up and regurgitated into a cardboard box labeled “snacks for birds.” Sure, these all worked fine, but they didn’t necessarily feel natural. I still didn’t feel like the birds were coming for me.
The day I discovered my favorite bird-feeding technique started out like every other day. I was sitting by the big river eating my usual nuts and berries breakfast. I closed my eyes to take in the sound of the river, or as I like to call it, nature’s jazz. When I opened my eyes, I found six birds clustered around me. “Hey little guys (or gals)!” I said, but they didn’t respond. It was clear that they were hungry. So I sat very still and let them climb into my palms and eat out of my hands. Me and my six new friends (brothers? [or sisters?]) sat and enjoyed each other’s company for over twelve hours. A few rabbits who I went to high school with even came and joined us for a bit.
So I’m here to tell you: Skip Those Commercial Birdfeeders! If you want to say “Hello!” to our neighbors up above, all you have to do is take a handful of berries, seeds, or small nuts (make sure to check with your feathered friends first about allergies!), and hold them straight out in front of you for at least thirty minutes. (Make sure not to move your arms or shake your hands, as it will scare the little guys [or gals!] away.) Trust me, I’ve tried all the methods, and this one is by far my favorite: it’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s free.
If you have the time, you’re going to want to pick the berries yourself, ideally in a lea or a glen, no more than 30 minutes before feeding the birds—they prefer them fresh. If the bushes aren’t very full, you can mix in more seeds and nuts, but DO NOT, under any circumstances, give them that salty garbage you can buy in human grocery stores. Any ram worth his horns will tell you it destroys the soul of the nut! And hey, if a few other critters (squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, snakes) happen upon your makeshift buffet, so be it! Just make sure to tell them that Keith Jeep sent ya!
Now, there are some risks associated here. I’ve come away with a few pecks on the old berry-grabbers more than a few times. And sure, sometimes a few bears want an invite to the party (they might not always play nice with the other animals—but hey, they have a great taste in music!).
However, by far the biggest risk here would be not getting to know the birds, or, and it pains me to say this, hungry birds. One bird left hungry is far worse than a little scratcharoo on the old hando, or a lost arm.
Thanks for reading, Jeepers! Before I go, I’d like to thank Points in Case (the name is backwards as a joke—these are some real funny guys!!) for bringing me to their paper. With the money they’re paying me for this new gig, I’ll finally be able to get my daughter Adi (short for Adirondack Chair) those rock music CDs she’s been bugging me about!
See you next week, Jeepers!
Collins Calls the Country: American Vignettes
Sue Sweeney on Sitting Quietly in Her Yard
By Jean Collins
My name is Jean Collins. This summer I’ll be conducting a series of interviews with everyday U.S. patriots—the people who are given so little of our attention, but have so much to say.
Every week, I dial the most American phone number I can think of. Today’s was 044-046-1776. Sue Sweeney, from Appleton, Wisconsin. I found her enjoying a warm spring afternoon curled up in her beloved chair, a chair which, I think you’ll find, is far more than just a chair.
This interview has twists and turns, moments of joyful clarity and profound sorrow. I hope you learn as much from Sue—and her chair—as I did.
JC: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, Sue.
SS: Who’s there?
JC: It’s Jean Collins with the PIC Newspaper.
SS: Wrong number.
JC: I think a lot of Americans feel like that these days, Sue. Like we have the wrong number. Like we’re not the best at just about anything anymore. But Sue, I’m here to say that we’re still number one in heart.
JC: So why don’t we get started with the interview. Sue, what would we find you doing on a normal Saturday afternoon?
SS: The usual.
JC: Which is?
JC: Mmm. Interesting when you consider that the opposite of sitting is standing. Standing up. Standing for something. What is something you stand for?
SS: Well I just stood up to get the phone, which was clearly a mistake.
JC: A mistake! No Sue, this isn’t a mistake, it’s an opportunity! To learn, to laugh, to get to know each other! Sue, where might we find you sitting?
SS: In my chair.
JC: There’s a real life—a vibrancy—to the way you talk about sitting. I almost feel like I can see you in the chair—a rocking chair, right? Passed down through your family for a few generations? A real American story of resiliency, hard work, responsibility. A chair that might have weathered this storm we call life in many of the same ways you have–
SS: No, it’s just a chair. It’s brown.
JC: Maybe just a chair to you, but so much more to your family, your friends, your neighbors. Do you keep your chair in the yard?
SS: I move it to wherever I want to sit. It’s a chair.
JC: A chair, yes. It’s funny, Sue, because when you think about it, we’re all a little bit more like a chair than we realize. Moved around the house by forces we don’t quite understand. Never appreciated as much as we want to be. But sturdier than we know.
JC: Sue, tell me. What are you thinking about? What wild fancies dance through your American mind?
SS: Nothing. I’m sitting.
JC: What about the feeling of the breeze on your neck? And the chatter of the boys and girls running through the neighborhood. I imagine your family sometimes passes through the room.
SS: I live alone. They’ve all moved out.
JC: Moved out, and moved up? They’re living the epitome of the American dream, you could say, while you’ve been left behind. But don’t think we’re not still here for you, Sue. Don’t think your country isn’t here for you. Why don’t you tell me about the rest of your day. Before and after your sitting time. What gets Sue into the chair, and what gets her out?
SS: What gets me out of the chair? Some chatterbox from a fake newspaper.
JC: With all due respect, the PIC Newspaper is not fake, Sue.
JC: Back to the topic at hand, it seems the town community is a large part of your life. Like you’re a real stabilizing force for all of them. Almost like… a chair. If you will.
SS: I’m not a chair.
JC: Yes, yes, you’re right. You aren’t the chair. We are the chair. We all are the chair. Jean, do you think the Americans reading this understand what types of chairs they are—what their version of sitting down all afternoon is?
JC: So Sue, this chair. What sorts of ups and downs, triumphs and pitfalls, has this chair witnessed? For how long has she been in your family?
SS: Nine years.
JC: Nine years! Is that significant? Nine years for nine lives, perhaps, as each time you sit down, you sit down as a new person, older and wiser than before? Nine years for the first nine American states: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, and New Hampshire! Nine years for–
SS: No. That’s just when I had to get a new chair.
JC: A new chair?
SS: The other one burned up.
JC: What? Now we’re talking!
SS: It burned up.
JC: It burned up… metaphorically?
SS: No. It burned up in a fire.
JC: A fire? There was a fire!
SS: Yes. I had to buy a new chair. Don’t call this number again.
JC: I’d love to hear more about the circumstances of the fire—both physical and emotional. What was the damage? The causes? Was it in your home? What did the fire department tell you, and what do you know, deep down, about this fire and what it meant? Could it be that the real fire is the love that warms our hearts each and every day? Love you’re secretly searching for?
Sue? Sue, are you still there?
Sue do you need a moment? Are you getting emotional?
And with that, America, we say goodbye to the first of many unique, vibrant voices we’ll be welcoming into our life this summer. Sue’s story tells us what it means to sit. To witness. To observe. To love. I began this call worried that the person I’d randomly dialed would be grouchy, uninterested, empty. But I’ve never found someone who’s had as much profound depth as Sue. She’s always supporting others (like a chair!), yet feeling neglected, ignored, and regarded as unimportant. How can it be that someone like Sue has been so left behind? And who is to blame?
You’ll be hearing from me—and from our next new friend—in a few weeks.
The PIC-ture Perfect Horoscope
Every Single One of These Predictions Will Come True
For the Week of June 6, 2021
Aries – Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Keep those chompers to yourself.
Taurus – Moose crossing.
Gemini – With the moon in Jaundice, you should be extra careful around heavy machinery or equipment, especially if you’re absolutely wasted.
Cancer – Pack your bags, you’re going to Cabo.
Leo – Eat something inedible today, Leo.
Virgo – Kiss your stepdad.
Libra – Be mindful of the impact your words have on the other customers in the produce section of Wegmans.
Scorpio – You will encounter an old friend in the Young Adult section of the public library. The friend will be Jeremy, and your hands will touch as you both reach for A Separate Peace.
Sagittarius – Be spontaneous! Do a somersault! Do it now, or we’re all gonna die!
Capricorn – Slow down, you crazy child. You’re so ambitious for a juvenile! Well if you’re so smart, then tell me why are you still so afraid? Mmm? Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about? You better cool it off before you burn it out! You’ve got so much to do but only so many hours in a day. Mmmm.
Aquarius – The stars are working in your favor, Aquarius. You will experience great success in the realms of love, skateboarding, and crabs.
Pisces – You know what you did.
Well, that’s all from us here at Points in Case for today. If you have any specific questions for any of our authors, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Ask Keith Jeep about a home improvement project you’re thinking of trying, tip off Jean Collins about an undiscovered patriot in your neighborhood, or advertise your company to our millions of readers worldwide!
Thank you for joining us at the PIC Newspaper this summer, and never stop being curious.